Florida Court Explains Proving Causation in Nursing Negligence Cases

Nurses are often tasked with providing patients with thorough and competent care. When nurses carelessly fail to abide by their duties, however, it can cause their patients to suffer undue harm, and many people injured by nursing negligence can recover damages. However, as in other personal injury matters, a person injured by the reckless acts of a health care provider must prove causation to recover damages. What constitutes sufficient evidence of causation was discussed in a recent Florida opinion. If you or a loved one sustained damages due to the negligence of a medical professional, you could be owed damages, and you should consult a knowledgeable Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Decedent’s Care

Allegedly, the decedent was being driven in a medical transport van from the defendant dialysis center where he recently received treatment back to the nursing home where he lived. The driver of the van suddenly applied the brakes, causing the decedent to fall out of his wheelchair. He suffered numerous wounds in the fall, including head lacerations and a fractured leg, and ultimately passed away due to complications arising out of his injuries.

The plaintiff, the decedent’s daughter, filed a lawsuit against the defendant dialysis center, alleging it negligently permitted the decedent to leave the facility in a wheelchair when his critical medical issues made it unsafe for him to travel in any manner other than on a stretcher. The defendant filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

Proving Causation in Nursing Negligence Cases

Under Florida law, a plaintiff pursuing negligence claims against a medical provider must set forth a duty owed by the provider, a breach of the duty, and causation. Regarding the element of causation, Florida courts impose the “more likely than not” standard. This means that a plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence most likely caused the plaintiff’s harm.

A plaintiff cannot meet this burden by relying on speculation, however, and the mere potential that a defendant’s acts caused a plaintiff’s harm is insufficient to prove causation. In other words, a plaintiff must establish what the defendant failed to do or should have done differently to demonstrate proximate cause. Similarly, if the evidence shows that the probabilities are balanced it requires a verdict in favor of the defendant. In the subject case, the court explained that as the plaintiff did not produce any evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused the decedent’s injuries, the plaintiff’s claims were properly dismissed.

Meet with a Seasoned Florida Attorney

Errors in the context of medical care can cause significant injuries, and people harmed by the mistakes of health care providers are often owed damages. If you or a loved one suffered harm in an accident caused by a negligent nurse, you should meet with a lawyer about your options. The seasoned Florida personal injury attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and help you to pursue the full amount of damages recoverable in your case. You can contact us through our online form or at 800-283-7442 to schedule a meeting.

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